The View from Here


Arachnophobia
April 18, 2009, 3:47 pm
Filed under: spiders, Uncategorized

I’m not afraid of spiders. I am not afraid of spiders. Actually, I’m not, really. I actually think some are cute, like the Jumping spiders (Phidipus).

Jumping Spider

Their big eyes are kind of endearing, even if the big green fangs put you off a little. I like the way they turn their head to look at you. You get the feeling that there is an intelligence evaluating you behind those eyes. All spiders amaze me because of the fantastic variety of forms, and the incredible things they do despite having brains the size of gnat eggs. My inner 15 year old is also fascinated by their use of venom and the fact that most people think spiders are hideous monsters. I suppose I  would feel the same way if I were the size of an insect, or if spiders were the size of lions.  My affection for Jumping spiders is definitely related to the way their two large eyes gives them a “face.”  Most spiders have multiple eyes and lots of wiggly pedipalps and fangs, not exactly a visage that appeals to human nurturing instincts. However, being tiny and colorful helps spiders overcome our fear of the weird.  Once we start to appreciate the more attractive ones, we can also begin to love the Godzillas of the spider world.

The Pink-Toed Tarantula that we’ve seen in Peru is a spider-hater’s nightmare, bigger than your hand and with big hairy legs. The hairs help them to use surface tension to cross water between trees during the flood season.  They have fearsome-looking fangs, but don’t seem very aggressive. They can be handled safely if you’re gentle with them.

The Pink-Toed TarantulaThe Pink-Toed Tarantula

The Lycosid spiders (the Wolf spiders and their kin), get nearly as large as tarantulas and are much more active hunters. It was in the Amazon that I saw one large enough to turn the tables on a frog.  In my experience, placing an appendage anywhere near a big wolfy is asking for a bite. The spiders just reflexively pounce on anything that touches them.  The unlucky treefrog just happened to touch the leg of this large, hungry spider.

Lycosid spider eating a frogLycosid spider eating a frog

In Borneo we saw this Huntsman spider, feared by the locals as extremely venomous. I have no idea if it is truly dangerous (sometimes locals have goofy fears), and don’t want to find out the hard way. I always believe the locals unless I have a really good reason to believe otherwise.
A Huntsman Spider in Borneo, carrying its egg case

A Huntsman Spider in Borneo, carrying its egg case

It is right here in Ohio (a friend’s office to be more specific) where the Brown Recluse lives. These nondescript little brown spiders cause hideous ulcerous wounds with their bite. The one bite I’ve seen looked like the aftermath of a copperhead bite. There have been no recorded deaths from the Brown Recluse to my knowledge, but I’ll keep my distance.
I haven’t done any spider art yet, but I do like to photograph them!

The Brown Recluse has a violin-shaped mark on its back

The Brown Recluse has a violin-shaped mark on its back (actual size)

A Brown Recluse Spider

A Brown Recluse Spider

A Florida Crab spider

A Florida Crab spider

An Ohio Crab spider

An Ohio Crab spider

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2 Comments so far
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Hey..Thanks for sharing your interest and knowledge of these strange little creatures that i for the first time saw out by the pool (Florida Crab Spider)

Comment by Buci

I LOVE THE FLORIDA CRAB SPIDER… HAVE SEVERAL IN THE BUSHES AND AROUND MY PATIO IN THE SUMMER… LOVE TO SEE THIER WEBS IN THE EVENING OR EARLING MORN WITH THE CATCHES THEY ARE MUNCHING ON… TRY TO NEVER DISTRUB THE WEB AND SURROUNDING AREA… WEB GETS MORE EXTENSIVE IF UNDISTURBEDHAVE… A FEW THAT REBUILT DUE TO MY RIPPING WEBS APART HAVE COME BACK FOR UP TO 5 YEARS BUT NEVER GET BIGGER… WHEN WE GET A HARD FREESE, I WILL NOT SEE HIM-HER FOR A YEAR OR TWO… HOPE THIS FREESE DID NOT DO HIM-HER IN FOR THIS SUMMER!!!

Comment by Sara




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